Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Ads You’re Not Going to See Again Anytime Soon – Chapter 8

Ads You’re Not Going to See Again Anytime Soon – Chapter 8

By: Ardis E. Parshall - October 17, 2008

There’s nothing particularly unexpected about any of these ads, except that these, and many others like them, appeared in Church publications. These are dated 1916, 1916, 1920, 1934, and 1934.









  1. My favorite is Nephi Morris, who is one hundred percent American and who has devoted the best years of his life to building up the manhood of the state. Obviously he didn’t win, and Utah probably dodged a bullet there.

    Comment by Mark Brown — October 17, 2008 @ 7:56 am

  2. Nephi Morris was a very interesting person. He was a thirty-four year old bachelor when he was called as the president of the Salt Lake Stake. The “building up the manhood” is refering to his work with the Young Men’s organization. As a young man he was called to travel to the different wards of the Church organizing and encourging the YMMIA. After his mission to Great Britian, he was called to the General Board of the YMMIA. During the time he was on the General Board, they oversaw the building of the Deseret Gymnasium in Salt Lake City. He was stake president for three years before he married Harriet Hooper Young, a granddaughter of Brigham Young. He was stake president from 1904 to 1929. His son was George Q. Morris, an apostle. The diary of his mother, Mary Lois Walker Morris, was published by Utah State University Press. It is a very interesting account of her life as a plural wife.

    Comment by Jeff Johnson — October 17, 2008 @ 8:46 am

  3. Wow. I envisioned Obama and McCain each taking out full-page ads in the Ensign. That would be ugly.

    Comment by Jami — October 17, 2008 @ 8:59 am

  4. Moffat makes a big deal of the relationship the candidate has to Heber C. Kimball. Nephi L. Morris is more general, but implied his opponant had no such relationship. Was this typical? Is it still typical. I recall my grandmother making a big point of who she knew and how they were related. Do you think this is related to the Mormon emphasis on families, genealogy, or just due to the fact that because the gene pool was so small and the practice of polygamy in the previous generation meant that lots of people were related to each other.

    Comment by BruceC — October 17, 2008 @ 9:09 am

  5. Jami, just imagine if Obama’s ad were facing an article about the Messiah, and McCain’s ad were facing an article about Capt. Moroni — I don’t think the First Presidency message would get a whole lotta discussion that month!

    A stake president who was a menace to society, Jeff? That’s a stake I want to live in. Even if Mark is the tiniest bit skeptical. :)

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — October 17, 2008 @ 9:14 am

  6. Bruce, I think every place has candidates who play up the “favorite son” angle, but I agree with you that the reference to HCK was out of the ordinary (at least to modern eyes) — In Utah today there are occasional complaints about some candidate who signals that he is LDS in some more or less (often less) subtle way. But it’s just as common in Salt Lake for someone to signal that he is not Mormon, or is at least proclaiming independence from his Mormonism, by holding a press event in a bar and hoisting a beer.

    Moffat was not a big Utah name (not like Young or Cannon or Kimball, at least), so maybe he did feel he needed to signal his ties that way. Interesting!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — October 17, 2008 @ 9:18 am

  7. Sorry, I am wrong about George Q. Morris. He was not Nephi’s son. They were brothers.

    Comment by Jeff Johnson — October 17, 2008 @ 10:01 am

  8. Just to affirm Jeff, the Mary Lois Walker Morris diaries are well worth the time and effort.

    Comment by J. Stapley — October 17, 2008 @ 11:35 am

  9. In Simon Bamberger’s ad, I wondered if his comment

    Prohibitionist from principle, and not from expediency

    is interesting to me. What kind of person is a prohibitionist by expediency? Is he implying his opponent may have an intemperate weakness when it comes to alcohol?

    Modern day equivalent: Likes Joe the Plumber from principle, not from expediency?

    Comment by kevinf — October 17, 2008 @ 11:42 am

  10. Kevin, I imagine that it is similar to the way people talked about Romney’s pro-life position.

    Comment by J. Stapley — October 17, 2008 @ 12:01 pm

  11. I don’t think we will see the other ads in our day, but these . . . definitely not.

    “He understands her people” and “building up the manhood of this State” – interesting images in the same ad.

    Comment by Ray — October 17, 2008 @ 3:24 pm

  12. Stapley, I’d like Joe the plumber from expediency if I had leaky pipes, so prohibitionist from expediency, hmmmm…..

    In Romney’s case, expediency may well have been the problem all around.

    Ray, sounds like an ankle bracelet candidate.

    Comment by kevinf — October 17, 2008 @ 4:21 pm

  13. Simon Bamberger was, as you all probably know, a Jew–interesting that he was elected governor of Utah several years before Herbert Lehman was elected New York’s first Jewish governor.

    That does make Nephi Morris’s statement that he is “one hundred percent American” slightly troubling. Or maybe a little more than slightly troubling.

    Comment by Mark B. — October 17, 2008 @ 4:36 pm

  14. Kevin,

    The Bamberger “Prohibitionist by principle” may have been to counter claims that he had just become a dry to try to get the Mormon vote. Because he wasn’t a Mormon, some might have thought otherwise.

    (Who has access to all the SL Trib archives? Inquiring minds want to know.)

    Comment by Mark B. — October 17, 2008 @ 4:39 pm

  15. (Who has access to all the SL Trib archives? Inquiring minds want to know.)

    Not me, that’s for sure. (But what in particular are you looking for?)

    Comment by Ardis Parshall — October 17, 2008 @ 4:43 pm

  16. Stories about the Utah gubernatorial election of 1916–in particular whether there were issues raised about (1) Bamberger’s Jewishness and (2) Bamberger’s stand on Prohibition.

    I did find this at a site called “Utah History Encyclopedia”:

    Despite an election with anti-Semitic overtones, and a successful challenge in the Republican convention by Nephi Morris to incumbent William Spry, who lost support because of his veto of a prohibition bill, Bamberger defeated Morris by a vote of 78,502 to 59,522. Socialist candidate F.M. McHugh polled 4,391.

    This suggests a couple of things: first, that the first two advertisements were from 1916–either that or the church magazines printed their ads awfully late; second, that Nephi Morris’s claim to be a “one hundred percent American” may well have been intentionally anti-Semitic, or at least intended to pull in the anti-Semitic voters (although Bamberger’s being an immigrant–born in Germany–may have been the target of Morris’s ad); and third, that the Bamberger statement about Prohibition may have been a slap at the apparent Republican change of heart about Prohibition. (I confess I don’t know if Morris’s attitude was different from his party’s or just from the incumbent governor’s, whom he defeated in the primary.)

    Comment by Mark B. — October 17, 2008 @ 9:26 pm

  17. Mark, I just found your last comment in the spam filter — I do not understand why that thing takes such a dislike to you!

    I have heard so often that Utah history was free of anti-Semitism (“hey, look! we elected a Jewish governor!”) that I was not at all aware either of the “anti-Semitic overtones” of the campaign (the Utah History Encyclopedia, by the way, is a reliable general source) and didn’t pick up the cue from the ad.

    I’ll scan through the Salt Lake papers for that election and see what I can find in the next few weeks. Some of my best projects have been doing research poached from other people’s good ideas, like this one.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — October 18, 2008 @ 6:28 am

  18. And (sigh) the dates of the ads were of course 1916. I’ll fix that in the post.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — October 18, 2008 @ 6:29 am

  19. RE: #12 & Kevin F

    What is an ‘ankle bracelet’ candidate, pray tell? Being well into middle age these youthful euphemistic innuendoes escape me. Ardis, are you aware of any unsavory elements in the life of Nephi Morris to which this might apply?

    Comment by Velikiye Kniaz — October 18, 2008 @ 11:11 am

  20. Velikiye, I have no reason to suspect (and lots of reasons to dispute) that Nephi Morris was anything other than a law-abiding, sincere, practicing Latter-day Saint. I’m sure the guys are just playing with language — there can be such a difference between the connotations of some words a century ago and now, that when you pull something out of context, something perfectly normal and upright and praiseworthy in 1916 might suggest today that someone was in need of close monitoring (i.e., by electronic ankle bracelet). The comments joked about that, not about Nephi Morris personally.

    I’m sure nobody meant to suggest any ill of Nephi Morris. The good works listed by Jeff in #2 are an indication of his character and the life he led.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — October 18, 2008 @ 11:20 am

  21. How many grandchildren did Heber C Kimball have? Given the number of wives, it couldn’t be too exclusive of a claim.

    Comment by Norbert — October 19, 2008 @ 12:21 pm

  22. Just to show you that Utah’s political races were not the only ones in the country with strange ads, endorsements, and claims flourishing, during the mid-20th century, when Hon. Endicott Peabody ran for Governor of the Commonwealth, it was said that he was the only gubernatorial candidate in Massachusetts history who could lay claim to having had three towns named after him:
    **Endicott, Massachusetts
    **Peabody, Massachusetts
    **Marblehead, Massachusetts

    Comment by Bill MacKinnon — October 19, 2008 @ 10:42 pm

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